written by ardalan pourvali /\ imdb.me
According to Netflix, a documentary entitled Baggio: The Divine Ponytail is scheduled to be released, but no official date has been announced. The film documents an account of the 22-year career of soccer star Roberto Baggio, incorporating his arduous inauguration as a player and his untold quarrels with trainers and managers. Roberto Baggio is considered the most prominent soccer star the nation of Italy has produced. His status as Italy’s greatest comes with a nostalgic tale of triumph and tragedy on the field. After winning the Ballon d’Or in 1993 – the greatest individual award given to a soccer player – Roberto Baggio single-handedly carried the weight of his Azzurri squad to the final of World Cup USA ’94, where Italy faced-off against Brazil, in a marquee match at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. 100,000 + fans were in attendance, and billions around the globe witnessed the heartbreak that would ensue in the penalty-kick shootout when Baggio missed his chance to tie the score at 3-3, sending the ball over the cross-bar and into the stands; Brazil won the championship.
Italy were slow starters in that tournament, having miraculously escaped the Group Stage via a rare, 3rd Place entry into the Round of 16 and beating Nigeria 2-1, with two late goals by Baggio; the 89th minute then a PK in the 102nd minute of extra-time. The Divine Ponytail came through with a mind-bending game winning goal against Spain in the Quarter-final. This came after a magnificent defensive stop by Alessandro Costacurta and an unbelievable assist from the midfielder, Giusseppe Signori, setting Baggio up for a 1 V 1 breakaway. Baggio led Italy into a Semi-Final match against Bulgaria, where he would score two more goals, giving his Azzurri another 2-1 victory. The World Cup Final would go scoreless for 120 minutes, and Italian fates would rest on Baggio’s shoulders one last time. Aided by Gianfranco Zola, Dino Baggio, Roberto Donadoni, Paolo Maldini and Daniele Massaro – the Divine Ponytail led his national team to the World Cup Final with a three-peat of W’s. One would hope that this Netflix documentary avoids any attempt at serving as a poignant reminder of that day on July 17th, 1994.
In Italy, the top 3 pound-for-pound G.O.A.T. list ranks Alessandro Del Piero at #3, Francesco Totti at #2, and the Divine Ponytail – Roberto Baggio – at number one. The Azzurri trio wore the celebrated #10 jersey on the field, putting unsurmountable pressure on any contemporary Italian player (or the world) when they wear number ten. Roberto Baggio’s legendary status fueled Italy through their attempts at glory, setting-off a wave of trial & error at striking gold with World Cup France ’98, Euro ’00 and the treacherous Korea/Japan debacle of World Cup 2002. If it wasn’t for Baggio’s legacy, Italy wouldn’t have built-up the anger necessary to get ultimate revenge with winning their fourth World Cup Title at Germany ’06.
Roberto Baggio is currently the 5th highest scoring Italian soccer player with 318 goals. 78 of those goals came from his days with famed club team, Juventus (’90-’95) – where he inherited the #10 jersey. The ’93 season was a paramount year in Baggio’s career; his performances earned him the UEFA European Footballer of the Year Award, in addition to FIFA World Player of the Year. Baggio’s disheartening legend of conquest and catastrophe in 1994 – where he narrowly missed out on getting his hands on the FIFA World Cup – is what makes the chronicle of his career incredibly cinematic. Robert Baggio never won a World Cup; but came close, and was regarded as the best player of the world in 1993 – almost joining the ranks of Pele and Maradona.
This Netflix documentary can’t come soon enough. Netflix’s Baggio: The Divine Ponytail is scheduled to premiere soon.